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February 5, 2017

After two weeks in office, President Trump is still settling into the White House and his new life as a public employee, and he is trying to bring more order to his relatively freewheeling West Wing operation, The New York Times reported Sunday, based on "interviews with dozens of government officials, congressional aides, former staff members, and other observers of the new administration." A man of routine, Trump typically retires to the residence at 6:30 p.m. to watch TV in his bathrobe or use his phone, the Times says, while his "aides confer in the dark because they cannot figure out how to operate the light switches in the Cabinet room."

After the chaotic rollout of his executive orders, especially the one restricting immigration and banning all refugees — put on hold by a federal judge over the weekend — Trump had demanded that White House chief of staff Reince Priebus "begin to put in effect a much more conventional White House protocol that had been taken for granted in previous administrations," Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman report, including looping the president in on executive orders earlier in the process and instituting "a new set of checks on the previously unfettered power enjoyed by [chief political strategist Stephen] Bannon and the White House policy director, Stephen Miller." They continue:

But for the moment, Mr. Bannon remains the president's dominant adviser, despite Mr. Trump's anger that he was not fully briefed on details of the executive order he signed giving his chief strategist a seat on the National Security Council, a greater source of frustration to the president than the fallout from the travel ban. It is partly because he is seen as having a clear vision on policy. But it is also because others who had been expected to fill major roles have been less confident in asserting their power. [The New York Times]

That last part was a reference to the gap expected to be filled by Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and a senior adviser, who is, the Times notes, "a father of young children who has taken to life in Washington, and, along with his wife, Ivanka Trump, has already been spotted at events around town." Bannon, for now, has filled that vacuum. For more details about Trump's first two weeks, including his keen interest in the Oval Office drapery, head over to The New York Times. Peter Weber

12:19 p.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

When the markets opened Thursday, Microsoft founder Bill Gates lost his standing as the world's richest man. That honor now belongs to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Amazon shares jumped Thursday morning, pulling up Bezos' net worth by $1.4 billion. As of 12 p.m. ET, Forbes' real-time list of the world's billionaires calculated Bezos has a net worth of $91.4 billion, while Gates' net worth now sits at a mere $90.1 billion.

Aside from Gates and and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, Bezos is the third American to make the list since its inception in 1987 and the seventh person to hold the top spot. The New York Times reported that Gates has topped Forbes' list "for 18 out of the last 23 years."

Of course, Gates could always take back the top spot if Microsoft stock picks up from its slight drop, or if Amazon's takes a tumble. But with Amazon potentially on the path to becoming the first-ever trillion-dollar company, it certainly seems Bezos just might give Gates a run for his money. Becca Stanek

11:11 a.m. ET

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Thursday warned President Trump that there will be serious consequences if he tries to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller without a very good reason. "Any effort to go after Mueller could be the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency, unless Mueller did something wrong," Graham said, noting that right now he has "no reason to believe that Mueller is compromised" and cannot ably lead the investigation into Trump and his team's potential ties to Russia.

Graham also announced that he's working on legislation that would prevent a special counsel from getting axed without "judicial review of the firing." He hopes to introduce it next week with bipartisan support.

Catch a snippet of Graham's interview below. Becca Stanek

10:30 a.m. ET

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway thinks it's a real travesty that potential public servants are getting turned off from the job because they'd have to fill out a financial disclosure form. "There are so many qualified men and women who wanted to serve this president and this administration and their country, who have been completely demoralized and completely, I think, disinclined to do so because of the paperwork that we have to put forward — divesting assets, the different hoops you have to run through," Conway said Thursday on Fox & Friends.

She hoped that the paperwork aspect of public service isn't "disincentivizing" to White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, who is right now fuming that his publicly available financial disclosure form was "leaked." Conway explained that even though these documents are "eventually procurable publicly" — and were indeed reported on after the information was requested and granted — Scaramucci is threatening to get the Department of Justice and the FBI involved because he's convinced the "leaked" documents are evidence "somebody doesn't want him here." "Somebody is trying to get in his way and scare him off from working here," Conway said.

Watch it below. Becca Stanek

9:46 a.m. ET

The "leaked" financial disclosure form that White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci has threatened to go to the FBI about is actually public information. After Scaramucci steamed for hours about the fact that Politico reported details of the financial disclosure form he filed with the Office of Government Ethics and vowed to clamp down on the stream of leaks coming out of the Trump administration, Politico reporter Lorraine Woellert set the record straight:

In Woellert's piece, she revealed that Scaramucci is still able to profit from his stake in his investment firm, SkyBridge Capital, despite the fact that he joined the Export-Import Bank last month as a government employee. He's still listed on the investment firm's website as the managing director. Becca Stanek

9:10 a.m. ET

Whether you're ready or not, here comes Hillary Clinton — with a new book about the 2016 election. The book will be released Sept. 12 and will be a memoir of Clinton's time on the campaign trail.

In classic Clinton fashion, the tome's title is straightforward and unexciting, with the cover deploying a minimalist two-piece aesthetic:

You'll note that the book's title is not punctuated by a question mark, but is rather a declaration that implies the memoir will deal in past events. It does not promise to answer the question of what happened, because, well, we all know that already. Kimberly Alters

9:07 a.m. ET

President Trump's Twitter announcement Wednesday that the U.S. government will no longer "accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military" left Stephen Colbert reeling Wednesday night on The Late Show. "Why the hell would he do this? This isn't even one of his campaign promises," Colbert said.

Colbert recalled how just months ago during the presidential campaign Trump assured the LGBT population that he "will fight for you." "What the hell does he think the 'T' in LGBT stands for?" Colbert quipped. "'Trump'? 'Tomato'?"

This ban takes Trump "from crazy to cruel," Colbert said. He likened Trump's decision to fire "those 15,000 transgender troops" by tweet to "your wife divorcing you by cookie bouquet." And then, to add insult to injury, Colbert pointed out they are "being rejected by a rich guy who during Vietnam, sidestepped the draft with four deferments and a medical disqualification for bone spurs in his foot."

Trump claimed the ban was due to "tremendous medical costs," but Colbert pointed out the costs added would only be "between $2.4 million and $8.4 million per year" — five times less than what the military spends on Viagra.

Watch Colbert's brutal monologue below. Becca Stanek

8:26 a.m. ET

In a Thursday morning interview on CNN's New Day, newly minted White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci invited White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus to "explain" to the press "that he's not a leaker."

The previous evening, Scaramucci tagged Priebus in a tweet declaring he would be contacting the FBI about the "leak" of his financial disclosure information, which is publicly available. But Scaramucci insisted Thursday he wasn't accusing Priebus of being a leaker, but rather suggesting the chief of staff is "responsible for understanding and uncovering" the leakers.

However, Scaramucci stopped short of defending Priebus against journalists' "assumption that it's him," instead inviting Priebus to defend himself. "He's going to need to speak for his own actions," Scaramucci said.

Scaramucci did not make any attempt to hide his potentially irreparable beef with Priebus in the wide-ranging interview, commenting that "some brothers are like Cain and Abel." "We have had odds, we have had differences," Scaramucci said. "I don't know if this is reparable or not. That will be up to the president."

One thing Scaramucci did know for sure is that he and President Trump — who authorized his CNN interview — now have "a very, very good idea of who the leakers are." Becca Stanek

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